THE Government has kicked a highly controversial development to build 501 homes in Aveley into touch.

It’s a bitter-sweet decision.

Many villagers in Aveley are delighted, while it serves a real body blow to Grays Athletic Football Club, which was hoping the deal would kick-start plans for a new stadium, paid for with developer’s cash.

The proposal for a new sports centre and football ground at Treetops School, Grays, is a good one. It would have been triggered, had the proposed hundreds of homes on the former London Fire Brigade Sports and Social Club in Aveley been approved.

But the Government said an outright “no”, as the 501 homes would have been in the green belt.

So, is relying on an elaborate plan in Aveley, which would smash green belt policy, the right way to go about getting its new ground?

Grays Atheletic owner Andy Swallow wants supporters to keep the faith, and they should.

Grays Athletic FC needs a new home – and it needs to be in Grays.

In time, we can hope this will be achieved, but maybe not at the cost of acres of green belt land.